Author: Margaret Hill

Today we are in a very different position from when Bible agencies and churches first started running literacy classes. There are alternatives! We now have many methods of producing, distributing and copying oral Scriptures of many different types. In almost every case where a literacy programme is going nowhere, people will accept oral Scriptures and listen to them.

Several years ago, Margaret Hill wrote an article provocatively titled "How Literacy can Harm Scripture Use". Her thesis was that too many literacy programmes were starting with classes for beginners rather than focusing on transition literacy for the leaders and change agents in society. Such an approach, she argued, is harmful to Scripture engagement.

This article is a follow-up, emphasising the same message and going further to take into account the observation that "increasingly here in Africa we are seeing that many language groups are very interested in using their languages orally, but very uninterested in reading or writing in them".

Rather than "hitting your head against a wall" with struggling literacy programmes, the author calls for a refocusing of strategies and reminds us that audio Scriptures often work very well in such contexts.

Download the article as a PDF document.  [more...]

Listening to the translated Scriptures: a review of today’s digital audio players
Author: Richard Margetts

Third Edition - Revised for 2014

This in-depth review (46 pages) compares a range of today's digital audio players including the Proclaimer and Mini-Proclaimer (from Faith Comes By Hearing), the Envoy S and Story Teller (from MegaVoice), the Saber (from Global Recordings Network), the Papyrus (from Renew World Outreach) and the Audibible (from Davar Partners International).

The review is presented in several sections, illustrated with photos and giving a summary of the key features, prices, pros and cons of each player. Also mentioned are feature phones, smartphones and locally available MP3 players.

The first edition of the document was published in 2008 and compared the Proclaimer, MegaVoice Ambassador and Saber. In the past six years we have seen:

  1. New entrants to the digital audio player world: the Papyrus, the Audibible, the Story Teller, Mini Proclaimer, the Herald and the Shofar.
  2. Significant development of existing players: The MegaVoice Ambassadors were retired and replaced by the Envoy. A solar-powered version of the Talking Bible is available, as is a new version of the Proclaimer. More internal memory was added to the Papyrus.
  3. New battery technology: Most players now use newer Lithium Ion Polymer or Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries rather than the NiMH type.
  4. Digital file sharing: Almost gone are the days of cassette tape. In most countries of the world, people are interacting with digital media and are increasingly familiar with memory cards and MP3 files.
  5. Mobile phones: The incredible growth in mobile phone ownership and use over the past six years means that most of the world’s population now have their own personal audio player.
  6. Download the full report as a PDF document.

  [more...]
Published in Global Missiology, January 2014
Authors: T Wayne Dye, Tim Hatcher

"The worldwide spread of cell phones that can show video will enable us to bring the Scriptures into the lives of more people more effectively than ever before. Whatever the challenges, let us not miss this opportunity."

Video renditions of Bible portions are popular wherever people can even partially understand the language in which they are available. The authors of this article believe that video drama of Bible portions will quickly move from being a minor niche in Scripture distribution to a major, even central form of Scriptures for people in most language groups. They argue that because of the significant and growing influence of video Scripture portions, this medium merits much more attention than it has received in the past.

This paper focuses on the prospect for video to address a number of challenges to understanding typically addressed by paratextual elements. Video forms of key passages provide essential supplements. Short videos of selected Scripture passages can provide extensive background information more efficiently and often more effectively than traditional paratextual delivery systems. The potential for video to provide necessary historical and cultural context can be better realized through cooperation between exegetes, artists, and Scripture engagement personnel. Together, they can identify which Scripture passages could benefit most from video supplementation in particular cultural groupings.

Download the full paper as a PDF document.  [more...]

Regnum Edinburgh Centenary Series
Author: Pauline Hoggarth, Fergus Macdonald, Bill Mitchell, Knud Jørgensen (eds.)
Published by: Regnum Books International, 2013

“The Bible is alive – it has hands and grabs hold of me, it has feet and runs after me”. Thus spoke Martin Luther, as cited by Knud Jørgensen in a quotation that summarizes the deeper meaning of this book. To the authors of Bible in Mission, the Bible is the book of life, and mission is life in the Word. (from the Foreword)

Bible in Mission is a rich collection of essays from around the world on the theme of 'Bible and mission - mission in the Bible'. They come as a follow-up to the missiological discussions of Edinburgh 2010. A glance at the contents page should be enough to convince all involved in Scripture Engagement that this book, now available as a free PDF download, is a must-read.

Introduction

The Bible in Mission - and the Surprising Ways of God (Ole Christian Kvarme)
The Bible as Text for Mission (Tim Carriker)
The Bible in Mission in the World and in the Church
The World
The Bible in Mission: The Modern/Postmodern Western Context (Richard Bauckham)
The Bible in Mission in the Islamic Context (Kenneth Thomas)
The Bible in Christian Mission among the Hindus (Lalsangkima Pachuau)
Children, Mission and the Bible: A Global Perspective (Wendy Strachan)
The Church
The Bible in Mission: Evangelical/Pentecostal View (Antonia Leonora van der Meer)
Bible Hermeneutics in Mission - A Western Protestant Perspective (Michael Kisskalt)
Orthodox Perspective on Bible and Mission (Simon Crisp)
'Ignorantia Scripturae ignorantia Christi est' (Thomas P. Osborne)
Case Studies
Africa
Baku Bible Translation and Oral Biblical Narrative Performance (Dan Fitzgerald)
The UBS HIV Good Samaritan Program (David Hammond and Immanuel Kofi Agamah)
The Bible and the Poor (Gerald West)
The Bible and Care of Creation (Allison Howell)
Asia-Pacific
'Text of Life' and 'Text for Life': The Bible as the Living and Life-Giving Word of God for the Dalits (Peniel J. Rufus Rajkumar)
Bible Missions in China (Pamela Wan-Yen Choo)
The Impact and Role of The Bible in Big Flowery Miao Community (Suee Yan Yu)
Bible Engagement among Australian Young People (Philip Hughes)
Latin America
The Bible and Children in Mission (Edseio Sanchez Cetina)
Bible Translation, the Quechua People and Protestant Church Growth in the Andes (Bill Mitchell)
The Bible in Mission: Women Facing the Word (Elsa Tamez)
West
Biblical Advocacy - Advocating the Bible in an Alien Culture (David Spriggs and Sue Coyne)
Scripture Engagement and Living Life as a Message (Steve Bird)
Reading the Bible with Today's Jephthahs: Scripture and Mission at Tierra Nueva (Bob Ekblad)
Lessons Learned from the REVEAL Spiritual Life Survey (Nancy Scammacca Lewis)
Glazed Eyes and Disbelief (Adrian Blenkinsop and Naomi Swindon)
Information Management and Delivery of the Bible (Paul Soukup)
Conclusion
The Bible as the Core of Mission: '...for the Bible tells me so' (Knud Jørgensen)
 
  [more...]
Scripture Engagement handout from the FOBAI Annual Meeting 2014
Author: Taylor University Center for Scripture Engagement

While many tend to think of prayer and Bible reading as separate spiritual practices (e.g. first I pray, then I read the Bible), they can be even more powerful when combined into one practice of "praying Scripture."

The Forum Of Bible Agencies International (FOBAI) Annual Meeting 2014 was held in Sri Lanka, with the theme "Next Generation Scripture Engagement - The South Asian Experience". We began every morning with a time of Scripture engagement in our table groups, meditating on Psalm 1 in different ways. On the second day, the focus was on Praying Scripture.

"To pray the Scriptures is to order one's time of prayer around a particular text of the Bible." This can mean either praying the prayers of the Bible word-for-word as your own prayers, personalizing portions of the Scriptures in prayer, or praying through various topics of the Bible.

Download the handout which contains more thoughts on Praying Scripture, including insights into how George Mueller started his day:

"The first thing I did, after having asked in a few words the Lord blessing upon his precious Word, was to begin to meditate on the Word of God; searching, as it were, into every verse, to get blessing out of it; not for the sake of the public ministry of the Word; not for the sake of preaching on what I had meditated upon; but for the sake of obtaining food for my own soul. The result I have found to be almost invariably this, that after a very few minutes my soul has been led to confession, or to thanksgiving, or to intercession, or to supplication; so that though I did not as it were, give myself to prayer, but to meditation, yet it turned almost immediately or less into prayer."  [more...]

Are Canadians Done With The Bible?
Published by: Canadian Bible Forum and The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, 2014

The Canadian Bible Engagement Study, published on 1 May 2014, found that "about one in seven Canadians, or 14%, read the Bible at least once a week. The majority of Canadians, including those who identify themselves as Christians, read the Bible either seldom or never".

Since 1996, weekly Bible reading has declined by nearly half. People's confidence in the Bible as the Word of God has also decreased signficantly along with declining church attendance. Almost two-thirds of Canadians (64%) and six in ten of those who identified themselves as Christians agree that the scriptures of all major religions teach essentially the same things.

The survey showed that Canadians who are engaging most with the Scriptures have three behaviours in common: community (they are involved in a worshipping community), conversation (they discuss and explore the Bible with their friends) and confidence (they are confident it is the way to know God and hear from him).

View the video, download the executive summary and full report from the Canadian Bible Engagement Study website.

The study concludes with the message that "if churches are to strengthen the Bible engagement of their congregants, they themselves need to be convinced of the reliability, relevance, trustworthiness and divine origin of the Bible".

HT: Lawson Murray, jumpintotheword blog.  [more...]

Scripture Engagement handout from the FOBAI Annual Meeting 2014
Author: Taylor University Center for Scripture Engagement

Scripture engagement is a way of hearing and reading the Bible with an awareness that it is in the Bible that we primarily meet God. It is a marinating on, mulling over, reflecting on, dwelling on, pondering of the Scriptures, "until Christ is formed in you" (Galatians 4:19).

The Forum Of Bible Agencies International (FOBAI) Annual Meeting 2014 was held in Sri Lanka, with the theme "Next Generation Scripture Engagement - The South Asian Experience". We began every morning with a time of Scripture engagement in our table groups, meditating on Psalm 1 in different ways. On the first day, the focus was on using Lectio Divina.

There are four traditional stages of Lectio Divina:

1. Reading (Lectio): To be done slowly and with focussed attention. Lectio Divina is best practiced with passages that you have at least some familiarity with.

2. Meditation (Meditatio): The goal is to pick out a word, idea, or phrase that strikes you in a personal way, and to repeat that idea in your mind, lingering over it and giving it your attention.

3. Prayer (Oratio): Take all the thoughts, feelings, actions, fears, convictions, and questions you have meditated on and offer them to the Lord in prayer.

4. Contemplation (Contemplatio): The 'task' in this stage is simply to be silent in the presence of God.

Download the handout which contains a description of Lectio Divina and directions for using this method of Scripture engagement with Psalm 1.  [more...]